for writers and readers….

Money to help creative parents – Grants for writers and artists with children

The job of the Sustainable Arts Foundation is to give money away. Based in San Francisco, they have been supporting artists and writers with families for over five years because…

… we think it’s important for children to grow up with artists and writers as parents, to think that being creative is both a normal and necessary thing.

family outline-1247203_640They give grants to writers and artists of excellence anywhere in the world. I had to double check that because I felt sure that they would have to limit grants to US residents but no, they have a truly international outlook. This is how they phrase it.

 We have no geographical restrictions on our applicants. This applies both to U.S. citizens living abroad as well as to citizens of other countries.

They have two application rounds each year where they make awards to individuals for $6,000 and $2,000 . Usually they make ten awards  during each round and looking at their website it seems they must get something like 4000+ applications a year. I can’t work out the odds (I’m better with words than numbers) but it doesn’t take a genius to  realise that the majority of applications go unfunded.

So is it worth applying?

Yes, I think so if you have at least one child under the age of 18 and can afford the $15 application fee – all of which goes to pay the writers and artists sitting on the jury.

I think it is worth putting time and energy into opportunities that come your way that could help your writing, even though you’re pretty sure that you don’t stand much chance. Because you can never be that sure – do you know what the competition is like? No, of course you don’t. Are you the best reader and critic of your work? Probably not. Do you have enough confidence in it to ask someone else to give up valuable time and actually read it. Of course you do, you’re a writer.

If you still have doubts remember Dizzy Gillespie‘s words (we should all stick them above our computer screens): It’s all down to luck, but the funny thing is the harder I work the luckier I get.

Positive Action

You should be aware that Sustainable Arts Foundation are changing the rules this autumn and I know some people will be upset about this, and they do too because they use a lot of space on their website to explain why

Starting with the Fall 2016 Awards,  half of Sustainable Arts Foundation awards will go to applicants of colour. You can read more about this decision on their  website.

But – and this is important – they will first long list on the basis of quality of work and only then look at the self-declaration of racial identity. Only the best writers and artists will win awards.

You may not believe in positive action as a way of  striving towards some kind of equity. I do, which is why I am very happy to pass on this information about Sustainable Foundation.


If you don’t believe it is needed, all I can say is that you should go out in the world, listen, observe and imagine yourself leading another kind of life. You’re a writer: you’re good at this. This is what we do. And if you think other groups of writers and artists also need this kind of support I can only agree, but I also know it is not possible to do everything all the time. This not-for-profit organisation is looking after writers and artists bringing up children – that’s 100% of their focus (and I don’t know of another arts organisation doing that) and now they also want to recognise the needs of creative parents of colour.


Right, now we’re onto what kind of creative work is eligible. You need to provide a portfolio of what you’ve already done and describe what you want to do.

Writers may apply for an award in one of the following categories:

  • Fiction

  • Creative Nonfiction

  • Poetry

  • Long Form Journalism

  • Playwriting

  • Picture Books

  • Early and Middle Grade Fiction

  • Young Adult Fiction

  • Graphic Novel

Visual artists may apply in one of the following categories:

  • Painting

  • Sculpture

  • Drawing/Illustration

  • Printmaking

  • Mixed-media

  • Photography

  • Installation

(They are not accepting applications in the performing arts, film/video/tv including screenplays, music, jewellery, pottery, and other crafts.)

Deadline is September 2nd – get cracking!


9 comments on “Money to help creative parents – Grants for writers and artists with children

  1. The Story Reading Ape
    August 15, 2016

    Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    It does no harm applying if you’re eligible Folks 😀

  2. Vibha Ravi (PixelVoyages)
    August 15, 2016

    This is a commendable endeavor. More often than we would like, artists and writers don’t make enough money to continue pursuing a creative career. Kudos to Sustainable Arts Foundation and thank you for putting this out.

    • bridget whelan
      August 19, 2016

      I was impressed when I read about the work they do. I can’t think of another organisation that centres on parents – and in such a meaningful way. Money always helps…

  3. Pingback: Money to help creative parents – Grants for writers and artists with children | Annette Rochelle Aben

  4. Don Massenzio
    August 16, 2016

    Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog.

  5. Pingback: Grants for writers and artists with children | The Proof Angel

  6. Paul Segovia Lee
    January 27, 2021

    Oh I am late to realize this opportunities. Madam Whelan is this grant for writer still applicable today?

  7. bridget whelan
    February 9, 2021

    I don’t run this scheme – I was just passing on the information five years ago. You need to do your own research but a quick Google search revealed that the award is running for 2021. It is open NOW and closes on Feb 26 2021 so you have a couple of weeks. All the information is out there – on the organisation’s website.

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This entry was posted on August 15, 2016 by in News and tagged , , , , , , .


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